June 24, 2013

Out of Tune

Perhaps you've seen this ad, or one like it, popping up around Facebook or other places online. It's for Wartune, a browser-based game which supposedly spans city-building, PvP, and RPG gameplay. I haven't touched it, mainly because browser games just give off a skeazy, low-quality vibe which their promotional materials do nothing to contradict.

Below is one such ad. Let us count the ways it utterly repulses:

Living Myth - Wartune Ad

1) Outright Plagiarism
This is artwork of the goddess Sillia, a character from the Korean MMORPG Forsaken World. No, the character is not affiliated with Wartune in any way. A lot of Wartune ads seem to display scantily-clad, vaguely-fantastical ladies ripped from various other games. There have been accusations that these ads are using images from League of Legends, as well. Does the actual game not have any of its own character art, which they might have used? Why must they steal from other games?

2) "No Children Allowed"
Ooooh, what manner of forbidden delights might one find within this risqué realm of debauchery? Let us peer into this decadent hive of adult pleasures:

Whoop dee doo. I am stimulated beyond compare.

If a game wants to advertise itself as a sexy, adult-oriented environment, fine -- but if it's unable to do so using its own assets, and it turns out to be this, what's the point?

3) "Male Gamers Only"
Let me tell you a little secret about gender and marketing, here. When you advertise "Ladies Night" on the front of your club, you might get more females to show up if they get free cover or some kind of deal on drinks -- but in addition, you will get more paying males to show up, because they want to meet ladies. Suppose you put "Males Only" on the front of your bar. What do you suppose will happen?

So, is Wartune the "gay bar" of browser games? I doubt it. What I assume they're going for are the stereotypical "hardcore" gamers, who are supposedly a males-only bunch, last time I asked 1987. Ironically, when I find out a game is trying to have a "males only" user base, it only drives me away -- and I am a male gamer. I just want to play a cool video game -- I don't go out of my way to play a game with only males. Does anyone?

4) "Once you're inside your friend won't be seeing much of you!"
First, I don't know how much this "Prepare to be addicted to this life-consuming game" line really fools people, or even sounds appealing anymore. It's the kind of thing people say in retrospect of a game they've already enjoyed, or at least to something they're already looking forward to immensely. It's not something people really look for, in and of itself. Like, "Yes! I don't want a well-paced, exciting game. I want a 100-hour, grind-heavy slog."

Second, my "friend"? As in, singular? Thanks for implying that I only have one friend, Wartune -- you just made one less.

5) The Logo
Nothing especially wrong here, but it's worth mentioning that it's likely the only non-plagiarised image on display. It's also the only thing that really has anything to do with their game -- and it's so small, you can barely read it.

From the ad itself, I had literally no idea what the game was even supposed to be about, or even what genre it was. It utterly fails to inform, impress, or inspire curiosity. Try harder next time, guys.


  1. I found your article when I googled the game to see just what it was exactly. I was horrified to find it was the game a kid in my computer class played nearly every day. It's game assets are copied, though perhaps not directly stolen, from so many other games it's hard to keep track. WoW, Diablo, AdventureQuest, etc.

    But worst of all was the thought of this guy, who I already find sleazy and disgusting, actually seeing one of these ads. And clicking it. Fuck.

  2. Bear in mind, you're using the bottom of the barrel in terms of design and game development, and using that as a basis for comparison. I'm still of the mindset that sexism runs rampant through the industry, of course.

    1. Point taken, though the ubiquity of these ads and Wartune's claim of "over 40 million players" makes it hard to argue it is the "bottom of the barrel" in any objective sense. Maybe that number is fudged, or just plain made up, I don't know -- but I do get the sense that this game is very successful.